Saturday, Jan 2, 2010, 5:00 PM PST
Pete Maravich Assembly Center
Now that football season is over for Utah, it's time to focus on our struggling hoops team. Saturday night the Runnin' Utes will take a trip to the SEC for a non-conference game against the LSU Tigers. A win would put (6-7) Utah at .500 on the season, who is desperately trying to consistently get some wins.
After winning five straight games, LSU (8-4) dropped two road games to Washington State and Xavier. They are looking to get back on track in time for conference play next week.
Although Utah's record is awful, they do play well against good teams. They beat Utah State, Michigan and Illinois. They also took Oklahoma to overtime. Boylen seems to be good at preparing his team for big games, so don't count Utah out just yet.
Forward, Tasmin Mitchell leads LSU with 17.3 points, and 9.2 rebound per game. He is their senior leader for this LSU team. Another impact player for LSU is Bo Spencer. He is another scoring threat, averaging 16.9 points per game.
After losing three straight games, the Utes got a much needed win against UT-San Antonio. David Foster and Jay Watkins returned from their injuries. Their presence should help the Utes get back on track, just in time for conference play. Foster's shot blocking abilities should help Utah against LSU's bigger players. Following this game, the Utes will open conference play with TCU.
In Jim Boylen's latest press conference he emphasized the need to rebound better defensively. In order to consistently win, the Utes will need to rebound much better. It's less rebounding missed shots, but more getting rebounds off blocks or tipped balls.
"Our defensive rebounding has been a concern all year. We've talked about it in a lot of different ways....That is the point of emphasis; a point of focus in practice."
Last year the Utes gave the Tigers a 30 point beat down at the Huntsman Center. All time the Utes lead the series 2-1. LSU will be looking for revenge at their place, where they have only lost one game all season.
LSU should win this game, but you never know what Utah team will show up. The Utes can certainly pull off a win, they are talented enough. Utah must show up ready to play, or they could fall even further below .500, with poor momentum heading into conference play.